Many California inventors obtain patents for their ideas and then look for a company to purchase them in the belief that the buyer will make the ideas a reality. Unfortunately, many companies who purchase intellectual property such as patents do so in order to enforce it through the filing of litigation. Other companies purchase them in order to control the competition, having little or no intention of actually doing anything with the patents.
In an effort to combat these eventualities, Google decided to launch a program to purchase patents owned by companies or individuals. The so-called Patent Purchase Program will take submissions between May 8 and May 22. Those who participate in the program will be able to give Google a price for which they are willing to sell.
Between May 23 and June 26, Google will review the submissions and inform the current patent holders whether the company wants to purchase a submitter's patent. If Google makes a purchase, payment will be made around late August. The company has not indicated whether it intends to develop the patents it acquires, except to say that it wants to keep "patent trolls" and companies determined to stifle innovation at bay.
Companies or individuals in California who desire to take advantage of this program will want to proceed cautiously and protect their rights. Making a submission may constitute a contract, and understanding its terms and the fine print is crucial. Someone familiar with contracts for the sale and purchase of intellectual property such as patents could help ensure that the seller receives the best deal possible -- whether the property is being sold to Google or someone else.
Source: wired.com, "Google wants to buy your patent to keep it away from trolls", Davey Alba, April 27, 2015